Fear

Ah, yes, fear. Life’s greatest self-immobilizer. The heaviest shoes most people ever wear are made out of fear. They are laced up nice and tight to where they can’t run, they can’t walk, and heck, they can’t even get a decent shuffle going.

And where is it people want to go that fear keeps them in a stationary place? Why, forward, of course. Forward toward a dream career, new or better relationships, a physical goal, or perhaps to quite simply escape an uncomfortable life situation.

What about your specific dreams? What is something you have thought of time and again when you play the Wish Game with yourself? You know the “Wish Game,” right? During your morning ride into work, when your thoughts always seem to drift into a vision of you realizing a dream and saying, “Oh, how awesome would it be if I could just find a way to someday achieve (***insert dream here***).”

Now that you’ve identified your dream, it is purely yours to continue to hold onto and own. Don’t let it go simply because fear has time and again gotten the best of you. You are not any different from every other human on this great planet who battles with this four-letter word.

I am a health coach, and people come to me for help in learning how to transform to a fit and healthy lifestyle. They can achieve this by participating in virtual group programs I facilitate throughout the year. One day, my friend, Emily, came to me very excited to get into one of my programs. She had even convinced a few of her business customers and friends to join the program as well. According to Emily, everyone was gung-ho and full of a high-five mentality about taking control of their weight-loss goals together.

As we were approaching the start date of the group program, I received a call from Emily. She gloomily told me that she and her friends had to back out of the program. When I asked why, she explained that the ladies who had originally committed to participate started to get nervous.

“Nervous?” I asked.

“Well, they were afraid that if they started, they might fail, and they didn’t want that pressure on themselves,” she responded.

While Emily’s answer made me raise my eyebrows and shake my head in disbelief, I had to accept that this is the epitome of how fear works on people. Trust me. I know firsthand. I am never one to judge because I also played that same fear game with myself for more than a decade as I battled my own health and obesity issues. Instead of fulfilling a desire to get healthier and feel better about myself, I, like those ladies, allowed fear to, time and again, control my decision to not do anything. At nearly fifty pounds more than my current weight, for much of my life I remained unhappy with how I felt and looked. But I finally overcame this fear to commit to myself. Now I am in the best shape of my life.

Where many people can relate to this same type of hesitancy is in their jobs and careers. According to “Mind the Workplace,” a joint study by the Faas Foundation and Mental Health America, 71 percent of employees are so dissatisfied with their workplace that they are considering or actively looking for new jobs. But just because many of these workers are unhappy does not mean they leave their employers. Why? Because of fear. Fear to leave a consistent paycheck and health benefits. Fear that they could go to another company and be inadequate compared to where they are now.

An even better example is for those want-to-be entrepreneurs. According to a survey released by the University of Phoenix Business School, close to 40 percent of employed workers want to start their own business. Many people are afraid to take this step because of how they might be viewed by other people with their business choice, or judged if they fail. I battled with this same fear as well when it came to my decision to start a side health-coaching business as a virtual coach.

This is a people business, and to me, that meant putting who the real Paul Perrino was out there on social media for people to see, trust, and engage with. In doing so, I was afraid of the judgment that would come from my family, friends, and people who did not even know me. It took well over a year for me to take that initial and very uncomfortable step, and the response has been tremendous. The fulfillment I get in helping others, the inspiration people tell me I have brought to their lives, and knowing that I finally have a business I can call my own has been a dream that was decades in the making.

Now back to your dream from the Wish Game. Perhaps your personal fears, and an unknown in how to overcome them, have made you simply carry your dream for years and years. So long indeed that your dream is becoming too heavy to hold, and you are thinking of dropping it altogether. Don’t give up. I believe everyone has the ability to overcome their fear with a bit of direction and a positive push.

How do you start? Try “doing the A’s,” as follows:

Do Ask. While information is abundant and easily available on the internet and in books, there is no better way to complement your knowledge than by getting a mentor who understands your dream or goal. A mentor has been through the hard roads to achieve success and can help assuage your fears of the unknown.

Do Act. You can have all the know-how and book smarts on a subject, but until you take action and movement toward your goals, fear can creep in and build up a wall. Action equals confidence in your ability to continue moving in the right direction.

Do it Again (and again, and again). Unless you’re among the small percentage of lucky ones who achieve their goals quickly, then welcome to the club with the rest of us, and be prepared to have setbacks. Many people who hit a bump in the road tend to quit because doubt creeps in, and when doubt creeps in, so does fear’s ugly head. You have already built the courage to act, so use it to push through.

Do it Authentically. Remember, this is your dream or goal, and you should get fulfillment by being true to yourself. Do what feels right, and don’t allow fear to limit this emotion.

Do Achieve. You can and you will. Stay strong with these actions, and one day you will look back to say, “What was I so afraid of?”

Don’t let fear keep you from never beginning to live. The heavy pain in your stomach is nothing but regret caused by fear. Make the decision to push through fear, and a full heart and soul will be a result of your courage to live your life and dreams. Fear not, my friend, and you can and will achieve.

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.”
—Les Brown

 


 

Fear is written by Paul Perrino